My name is Farida Mestek. I'm a writer. I write books set in Regency England and in the fantasy world of my own creation. I'm working on a fantasy novel at the moment and this is the place where I'm recording my writing progress and my journey to my dream... which is, of course, to get published!
Colin Fairchild is appalled when his mother informs him that their wealthy neighbour Lady Darlington invited them to spend summer at Ramsgate with her ladyship and her ladyship’s son. Fairchild believes that Lady Darlington's friendship with his mother brought about the latter's ruin, but worse than that, Lord Darlington has taken a fancy to him and is quite determined to pursue him.
For Fairchild the very thought of being courted by a man is odious and unnatural and he is just as determined to reject the amorous advances of his lordship. However, when an imprudent action on his part puts his life and that of Lord Darlington at great risk and together they overcome the gravest of perils, Fairchild discovers that extraordinary circumstances can lead to unexpected results.
But how serious are Lord Darlington's intentions? And how far will he go to get what he wants?
Darlington's Fancy» is the second novella in my M/M writing
experiment. In each M/M story set in Regency era I'm trying to look
at the relationship between two (or more) male protagonists from a
example, my first novella «A Secret Arrangement» (now out of print) was all about
mutual attraction and romance.
Darlington's Fancy» is completely different. First of all, it is not a
romance. There is a certain romantic element to it, but ultimately it
is a story of courtship, resistance and dangers that passion can lead
it have a HEA? Yes, it does. But does it have the kind of HEA that
the readers of M/M stories will appreciate? I doubt it. However, it
is the only kind of HEA that I saw fit for the main heroes, based on
their personal traits and inclinations.
ALTERNATIVE ENDING: I remember that I wanted to use this ending but my editor insisted on the one that I eventually used in the book. Looking back, I think this ending would have worked much better.
There is no doubt that the two families
continued to remain on the most intimate of terms. In fact, they
remained particularly close even when, after a passage of a few
years, Lord Darlington’s passion for Fairchild cooled down and his
eye found a new object of contemplation and devotion. This
circumstance, I hope, will not astonish anyone who is familiar with
his lordship’s history, as it had been previously noted, on more
than one occasion, that Lord Darlington was inconstant by nature,
which proved to be the deficiency of his character that was not to be
cured by time, age or the strength of his partiality.
As for Fairchild, it was excellent news
indeed. It so happened that the impulse, born as a result of the
tragedy, that had a great affect on his mind and prompted him to
experience a strong attachment for his lordship, had likewise faded
away; among other things, having been worn thin by Fairchild’s
constant terror of exposure. He had long been uneasy about the
shameful nature of their connection, and lately started despising
himself for succumbing, at the age of seventeen, to a sentimental
notion of bravery, heroism and stunning fatality of natural life.
Nevertheless, he was fixed to Lord Darlington’s side by the last
remnants of gratitude and obligation.
Happy was the day when Lord Darlington
thought to invite a family of cousins to stay at the manor. Lady
Darlington happened to mention at breakfast that her sister had been
growing distressed over her poor girls’ prospects. She wondered
whether there was anything they could do for the three sisters.
“Perhaps, a token of some value or a small sum of money apiece?”
she suggested. However, she found it too complicated a matter to
resolve on her own, abandoned so taxing a task after the first
attempt, and relied on her son to supply the solution. Lord
Darlington studiously pondered the matter over.
“I imagine I know what is to be done,”
he declared at dinner that same day.
“I knew you would,” exclaimed Lady
Darlington, her eyes fastened dotingly upon him. “I declare, I had
not a doubt as to that. And so I wrote to my sister this morning. I
told her not to think of it anymore and trust my dearest John to
resolve the matter. He is such a clever boy!”
Lord Darlington smiled and kissed his
mother’s hand. Mrs. Fairchild observed the scene with her usual
fanatic adoration. As for Fairchild, he was too accustomed to Lady
Darlington’s raptures over her son’s supposed brilliancy to
experience anything other than weariness and ennui with the lot.
“I am glad you think so, mother,
because I mean Fairchild to marry one of them,” continued Lord
Darlington, leaning in his chair and gazing complacently at his
Lady Darlington looked startled, then
puzzled. Mrs. Fairchild was transformed with delight. And Fairchild
thought it a bad joke.
“I hope you do not object?”
“I do object, Lord Darlington,”
replied Fairchild, coldly. “I do not like to be made fun of in so
bad taste and so public way.”
“Fairchild!” protested Lord
Darlington, his expression shocked to have offended and anxious to
appease. “I am in earnest. I do assure you. It is my belief that
one of them will do extremely well for you. And I am convinced that
the notion of entering the state of matrimony had been a lot on your
mind as of late. You are one and twenty, after all, quite an age to
start a family. Do you not agree with me, madam?” he asked, turning
towards Mrs. Fairchild, who nodded her ardent assent.
It was somewhat of a disappointment to
her that with Lord Darlington as his intimate friend, no young lady
of title and fortune had crossed her son’s path yet. And while the
girls in question were neither titled nor wealthy themselves, they
were connected with the Darlingtons – opulent and surprisingly
generous people – and as Lord Darlington always maintained that he
did not wish to marry himself, he would surely need an heir…
“One of them is bound to do for you,”
said Lord Darlington, catching Fairchild’s eye again. “I would
say the youngest. She is of your age and, though I haven’t had the
pleasure of seeing her myself, is said to be the prettiest.”
Fairchild stared at Lord Darlington for
the longest of moments. He was learned most intimately in his
lordship’s many moods and expressions and thus, after studying him,
could be certain that Lord Darlington was telling the truth. He was
indeed letting him go. Briefly, Fairchild wondered who had succeeded
him in Lord Darlington’s attentions, who had replaced him so
thoroughly in the man’s favor. In fact, for a shocking second he
felt all the indignity of being supplanted by another. How mortifying
to be thus dismissed, he thought bitterly. But, then, the whole
wonderful meaning of Lord Darlington’s proposal entered his mind,
blossoming into a new idea that was elating and overwhelming. He was
finally free of this disgraceful entanglement! Free to pursue an
honest man’s life! Oh, what a relief it would be to go to church
now that he wasn’t so utterly disgusted with himself. He would
marry the girl, whether pretty or not, and live an honorable life.
However, he was brought short, his elation gone, by a sudden and
vastly unpleasant thought.
“But I was under the impression that
your cousins’ mother was looking for better prospects for them,”
he said, addressing Lord Darlington with a frown. “I fear that a
connection with me will only serve to degrade one of them further. We
none of us have any money.”
“Not at all,” replied Lord Darlington
with a cheerful smile, “for I mean to give them five thousand
pounds apiece. Additionally, I mean to settle an annuity upon the
cousin you choose to marry. You are a dear friend of mine, Fairchild,
and I wish to see you settled well.”
“But then,” said Fairchild, his frown
deepening, “there will be money on her side and nothing at all of
material worth on mine. Your cousin can hardly be tempted by my house
as it is in the most deplorable state.”
“I am glad you mentioned the house,
Fairchild, for I mean to buy it from you. And a fine price I will pay
too! I also intend to carry out all the necessary repairs there
before your marriage takes place. After that, you will be established
as a tenant, live on the interest, and find lease nothing at all!”
Fairchild would have wished to establish
himself somewhere other than in Lord Darlington’s immediate
vicinity, but found the offer too generous to scruple over the
details, at least at present. He smiled to himself. How well did he
understand the motives of Lord Darlington’s benevolence! He
recalled a conversation they had years back and his lordship’s
words stood as clear in his memory as though he had spoken them mere
seconds иуащку: “I am an affluent man, Fairchild, and I know
how to reward silence.”
He also recalled Troy’s prophetic words
in regards to Lord Darlington’s capricious nature and the
fickleness of his regard: “…the sooner you give into his
courtship, the sooner Darlington seizes to pay you any attention…
show him that you accept him and he shall tire of you in no time…”
he said. Fairchild could not help thinking what would have happened
if he had followed his advice. Perhaps, Troy would have been alive.
Perhaps, it would have been another youth who would have become the
victim of Lord Darlington's cruel game. This he would never know and,
in any case, he firmly decided that life was too short and
unpredictable to amass regrets and divine what would and could have
been. However, one could learn from mistakes of the past and make
right choices in the future.
When the interest of so many was engaged
in and determined by the speedy and successful outcome of the matter,
it was to be expected that the happy event would take place long
before the twelvemonth was out. The young people were soon quite in
love, as much as from design as from natural inclination, that
followed upon their first meeting, intensified by the knowledge that
they had been destined for each other by their families and friends.
Lord Darlington, free of former
obligations and secure in Fairchild’s silence, pursued his new
fancy, but, as it proved a lesser challenge than subjugation of
Fairchild’s resistance, its duration, though not marred by
struggle, was twice as short.